Experts’ cite lack of technological preparedness, others for COVID-19 bank rush

May 11, 2020
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Financial experts have said the bank rush witnessed last week immediately the five weeks lockdown was relaxed shows the adverse effects of banks’ lack of technological preparedness.

It would be recalled that last week’s lifting of the COVID-19 lockdown in Abuja, Lagos, and Ogun states, one of the first things most Nigerians did was to rush down to the banks.

In line with safety guidelines, the bank customers were prevented from entering the banking halls all at once. Instead, the banks ensured that only a limited number of people were allowed inside at the same time. As a result, the crowd outside the banks kept increasing. This was the case throughout much of last week.

According to Mr. Mbanefo, a relationship manager in a bank (name withheld), working from home during the lockdown made it impossible to adequately assist customers who were having challenges. This is because many bank workers did not have access to some of the vital tools they would normally need to attend to such customers.

“One of the challenges of working from home as a banker is that there are lots of software that we use that cannot be accessible from home because of security reasons; not because they cannot be made available to us at home. For example, you cannot check people’s account balance from your house. So, even though the software to do that can be made available for us at home, it can’t.

“Also, having access to files that are saved in your work computer is key when you are working. But when you work from home as a banker, you cannot access such files. You also cannot use USB and other devices to copy them to your laptop. So, that’s another challenge.

“Note that all these are rules that can be relaxed if the society needs them to be. It’s just that banks are very paranoid about security because we are handling money.”

A US-based Nigerian HR professional, Ikechukwu Ossi, explained that the Nigerian banking industry is comprised mainly of “face-to-face financial services providers who treated online/technology services as novel products designed for the elite or educated class of the society.

He also faulted the fact that Nigerian banks typically work 9-5, even as the skills required of most bankers are “basic” and focused mainly on banking.

In terms of the future of work/how work is conducted for the bank employees, Ikechukwu Ossi noted that there will be a change in the required skill and competency requirements for talent within the industry.

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